The month of October has wrapped up, and with that comes the end of the term of Neighbourhood Time Exchange | Downtown Prince George’s second artist-in-residence, Lily Mead Martin. During the month, Martin was paired with Community Partner, Two Rivers Gallery, working on an outdoor Sculpture Court improvement project. Two Rivers Gallery is a vital centre for visual art in Prince George and the central interior of British Columbia, and the outdoor sculpture court is an essential component of the Gallery’s programming. Assisting with this project was a unique opportunity for the Neighbourhood Time Exchange | Downtown Prince George to engage directly with a major cornerstone of Prince George’s art community. Martin noted one of the most rewarding parts of the experience was the opportunity to meet the many dedicated individuals at Two Rivers who make the regional gallery possible.
The Sculpture Court, which has been an exhibition site at the Gallery since 2000, is unique in that it is a small, outdoor space that is unsheltered; work must be able to withstand exposure to variable and sometimes severe weather conditions. Artists are encouraged to think about seasonal changes and the surrounding environment, meaning the exhibited artworks need to be particularly sensitive to local conditions. Some highlights of the artworks that have been exhibited in the Sculpture Court include a kinetic sound sculpture by Don Dickson, Emily Mattson’s boat with a sail made from a cow placenta, and Life Pod by Karl Mattson. Life Pod, which was shown at the Gallery in 2014, is a response to the lack of a proper emergency response plan to certain aspects of the oil and gas industry in Northeastern British Columbia. The pod, fabricated out of an old fuel tank and scrap iron, is a self-contained breathing apparatus designed to hold and supply air for up to 4 hours for the artist and his small family.
Providing an important platform for showcasing unusual, unique or spatially demanding art practices, the Sculpture Court prioritizes the exhibition of local and regional artists. This focus is crucially important for building capacity for contemporary art in Northern British Columbia, not least because it enables the Gallery to support a wide variety of art practices.
With a few finishing touches, like a coat of paint, Two Rivers anticipates the Sculpture Court will be open to the public when the snow melts in the spring, if not before. There are already plans in the works for upcoming exhibitions in the newly renovated space, including the exhibition of work by Cercle des Canadiens Francais and UNBC which will involve building a birch bark canoe.